K-State Rallies Past Charleston Southern, 72-67

Junior Rodney McGruder posted his third career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Nov. 11, 2011

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - Rodney McGruder's 18 points, including 13 in the final 20 minutes, and 11 rebounds fueled a second-half comeback for Kansas State as the Wildcats opened the 2011-12 season with a 72-67 win over Charleston Southern Friday night at Bramlage Coliseum.

Trailing 49-35 at the half, K-State (1-0) closed the gap in the second half with stifling defense and several scoring runs to rally for the season-opening win. The Wildcats held Charleston Southern (0-1) to just three points for nearly 10 minutes to start the closing stanza while forcing 14 turnovers and holding the Buccaneers to just 14 percent shooting in the second half.

A driving layup by McGruder capped a 16-5 run to close the gap to 53-51 with 9:38 left in the contest. After several back-and-forth scoring runs from both sides, K-State took its first lead since the 7:37 mark of the first half at 61-60 following a McGruder free throw. Charleston Southern answered right back with a layup from guard Saah Nimley to make it 62-61, but that was the last time the Buccaneers would have the lead on the night.

Guard Will Spradling went on to score nine of the Wildcats' final 11 points, which included six straight from the foul line, to seal K-State's first victory of the season.

A total of four Wildcats scored in double figures as Spradling (15), Jordan Henriquez (11) and Shane Southwell (11) joined McGruder, who recorded his third career double-double on the night with 18 and 11 rebounds. Henriquez also grabbed nine rebounds and added five blocks.

K-State finished the game shooting 43 percent from the floor, which included a 54-percent performance in the second half. The visiting Buccaneers shot 31 percent from the floor. Jeremy Sexton led Charleston Southern with 19 points.

With 7:34 left in the opening half, Charleston Southern kicked off a 13-2 scoring run, highlighted by junior forward Arlon Harper's seven consecutive points, which put CSU up, 35-26. The Buccaneers entered the locker room with the lead after outscoring K-State 27-9 in the final seven and a half minutes of the first half.

The win was the Wildcats' ninth consecutive season-opening victory and the 19th in the last 20 home openers at Bramlage Coliseum.  The squad has won 34 consecutive games at home against non-conference opponents dating back to 2007. 

K-State will back in action at 7 p.m., Monday as it will play host to Loyola Chicago. The game will be televised by FOX Sports Kansas City.